||New Chattel Slavery: 35.8 million
||New Wage Slavery: 6.175 billion
|Capitalism Destroys Human Minds||Capitalist Terrorism||Capitalism Is A Failed System|
Capitalism Destroys Civilization
|"Modern-day slavery remains ubiquitous across the world, with an estimated 35.8 million people trapped under forced servitude or ownership of some kind, according to a report released Monday by the Australian anti-slavery NGO Walk Free Foundation. . .|
"In the Americas, slavery often takes the form of forced labor. 'Working conditions are deplorable and include bonded labor, physical confinement, no rest days, lack of potable water, deception about terms of work, withholding of wages, and unlawful overtime performed under threat of deportation,' the study states. 'Such practices are evident across the Americas, including in the United States of America.'"
A capitalist slave is:
Today, all workers suffer under capitalist slavery: either wage slavery or physical, chattel slavery. There are currently more than 35.8 million people physically enslaved as chattel. 1 Approximately 95% of the 6.4 billion persons now living suffer under capitalist wage slavery: 6.175 billion.
Note carefully your feelings when you read the word slavery, as though it couldn't possibly be that people are literally slaves today--slavery seems like an outmoded form of life from previous centuries. Whatever we feel, slavery is very much a fact of life for all people in the world today. A person is a slave if he has lost control over his life and is dominated by someone or something--whether he is aware of this or not. Wage slavery is the condition in which a person must sell his or her labor-power, submitting to the authority of an employer, in order to merely subsist.
Southern plantation owners and the capitalists who made millions from the international slave trade in earlier decades of our history brainwashed most Americans into believing that chattel slavery was a "fact of nature." In the same vein, capitalists have programmed most contemporary Americans into believing that the evils of capitalist slavery are "necessary to the smooth running of society."
"Capitalism, the systemization of greed, selfishness, subjugation, and exploitation camouflaged by the narcotic of consumerism, the irresistible illusion of equal opportunity for all, and its ostensible compatibility with liberal democracy, has seduced hundreds of millions of people into ignoring its contradictions, injustices, and malevolence." Jason Miller, "The absurd persistence of domination: Of speciesism, capitalism, and shaking their foundations"
Just as the the United States finally rid itself of chattel and bond slavery through realizing that slavery was not "natural"--in fact evil and unnatural--then supporting Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the struggle of the Civil War, workers throughout the world must now free themselves from capitalist slavery. We must replace capitalism with a commonwealth polity that ensures that all people can live free from slavery of any kind. Our political and economic systems must assure that all citizens have the means whereby they can sustain themselves and lead a free and productive life.
If you think people are no longer held in total slavery and physically beaten and murdered--as earlier--view this horrifying video of a rich capitalist Saudi Arabian family hanging their Ethiopian female slave upside down from a hook and beating her to a bloody pulp. She is drenched in blood from the whips and sticks that the Saudi thugs use to torture her.
That such demonic barbarians as these Saudis in the video--the capitalist family and their slave-torturing thugs--are not convicted and imprisoned indicates the morally degenerate state of the world at the present time. The enslavement and torture of this woman is a metaphor for what capitalists worldwide are doing to workers: reducing workers to poverty and destitution through unemployment, poluting the seas through irreparably defective nuclear energy plants, murdering workers as canon fodder in their imperialist wars, imposing deadly austerity policies, ad nauseum. And in the meantime, the capitalist millionaires and billionaires have increased their wealth 200% since 2009!
The phrase "modern slavery" describes a number of conditions involving control of a person against his or her will, enforced by violence or other forms of coercion. Chattel slavery, the legal ownership of a person, is now illegal in most countries but still widely practiced. In a real sense, slaves--chattel or work--are people who have no rights.
Wage and Debt Slavery
1.2 billion people (24 percent of the total world population) live in "severe poverty."
Forty-six million U.S. citizens--30 percent more than in 1996--are without health insurance.
While the sales of the Top 200 are the equivalent of 27.5 percent of world economic activity, they employ only 0.78 percent of the world's workforce.
Between 1983 and 1999, the profits of the Top 200 firms grew 362.4 percent, while the number of people they employ grew by only 14.4 percent.
A full 5 percent of the Top 200s' combined workforce is employed by Wal-Mart, a company notorious for union-busting and widespread use of part-time workers to avoid paying benefits. The discount retail giant is the top private employer in the world, with 1,140,000 workers, more than twice as many as No. 2, DaimlerChrysler, which employs 466,938.
U.S. corporations dominate the Top 200, with 82 slots (41 percent of the total). Japanese firms are second, with only 41 slots.
Of the U.S. corporations on the list, 44 did not pay the full standard 35 percent federal corporate tax rate during the period 1996-1998. Seven of the firms actually paid less than zero in federal income taxes in 1998 (because of rebates). These include: Texaco, Chevron, PepsiCo, Enron, Worldcom, McKesson and the world's biggest corporation - General Motors.
"Slavery is not a horror safely consigned to the past; it continues to exist throughout the world, even in developed countries like France and the United States. Across the world slaves work and sweat and build and suffer. Slaves in Pakistan may have made the shoes you are wearing and the carpet you stand on. Slaves in the Caribbean may have put sugar in your kitchen and toys in the hands of your children. In India they may have sewn the shirt on your back and polished the ring on your finger. They are paid nothing.
"Slaves touch your life indirectly as well. They made the bricks for the factory that made the TV you watch. In Brazil slaves made the charcoal that tempered the steel that made the springs in your car and the blade on your lawn mower. Slaves grew the rice that fed the woman that wove the lovely cloth you've put up as curtains. Your investment portfolio and your mutual fund pension own stock in companies using slave labor in the developing world. Slaves keep your costs low and returns on your investments high.
"Slavery is a booming business and the number of slaves is increasing. People get rich by using slaves. And when they've finished with their slaves, they just throw these people away. This is the new slavery, which focuses on big profits and cheap lives. It is not about owning people in the traditional sense of the old slavery, but about controlling them completely. People become completely disposable tools for making money." 2
"As many as 43% of American workers in private industry don't have paid sick days, according to 2007 data from the federal government. If they call in sick, they lose their pay and, sometimes, their jobs."Shari Roan, "Buck Up, Sicko," Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2008
What is Wrong With This Picture?
Half the world--over three billion people--live on less than two dollars a day.
The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world's countries) is less than the wealth of the world's three richest people combined.
A few hundred millionaires and billionaires now own as much wealth as the world's poorest 2.5 billion people.
A Real Black Woman
All segments of the slave population--all races, genders, and social classes--must now rise up and throw off capitalist slavery which has us in its grip. For example, women make up 70% of the world's 1.5 billion people living in absolute poverty. How many of us have to die, lose our jobs, become homeless, or suffer an impoverished life before we wake up and overthrow this new slavery?
A Black Woman Who Was A Slave Herself and Who Enslaved Others
When we begin thinking about slavery, it becomes clear to us that we live in a world of ideological fantasy, foisted on us by persons who've seized public property and use it for their own personal gain.
"The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch." 3
To overthrow these new forms of slavery, we must work hard to understand just what has led to our enslavement and what kinds of actions will be necessary to free ourselves from these insidious chains of servitude. We first need to understand the basics of our present economic situation.
The Ugly Reality of Wage Slavery
Many people blithely assume that "wage slavery" is merely a metaphor, at worst a rather benign situation in which an employee says: "You be my slave for 40 hours per week and I'll give you enough money to be semi-autonomous. Just be here Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM (and any time I tell you to work overtime) ... do some fairly easy work and that's it. Deal?"
You have probably endured the subjugation of a "boss" or "director" or "committee," and you know that the coercion, even if masked as "job description," "supervisor evaluation," or "company directive" can be as repressive as if there were literal chains fastened around your arms and feet. Most business enterprises use the leadership style of "management by whim," oppressing the worker through executive incompetence and subjective bias.
Under the "wage slave" system you don't receive the full compensation for your work. By the very nature of the employer-employee relationship, you get less compensation than you should, because the employer takes excessive profits. Let's take a look at how this happens by examining a very simple example of an exchange.
The raw material to produce a sack of ground wheat, let's say, costs $1.00
The means of production for this job costs $1.00
The owner of the means of production (the capitalist) pays you $1.00 for your labor
The capitalist sells the sack of ground wheat for $8.00
Your labor has turned $1.00 dollar of wheat plus $1.00 in production costs plus $1.00 for your labor, into a commodity which is sold for $8.00. The profit is $5.00. The owner of the means of production (the capitalist) makes 5 times more in profit than you do in wages, plus he owns and can sell the means of production whenever he wants. And he can select cheaper labor as he pleases.
||The ratio of average chief executive pay to worker
pay was 431 to 1 in 2004, up from 301 to 1 in 2003.|
The stark reality of "wage slavery" is that the owners of the means of production (capitalists) are now taking the jobs of American workers to chattel labor nations such as China, Mexico, and many others. The owners want to pay even less for labor than they now are and they want cheaper production costs as well. They don't care if the workers in these other countries are in literal bondage to their overseers, as in Asian sweatshops. And they certainly don't have any concern if American workers become destitute and homeless.
According to the US Census Bureau, 35.9 million Americans live below the poverty line, including 12.9 million children. As defined by the government and updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, the average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2004 was $19, 307; for a family of three, $15,067; and for a family of two, $12,334.
In 2005, ExxonMobil realized a profit of $36.13 billion, the largest single profit in the history of corporate America. Shell reported profits of $23 billion for 2005. British Petroleum (BP) revealed full-year profits at $21.7 billion.
Exxon CEO Lee Raymond received more than $42 million in salary, stock, and bonuses in 2005.
It is estimated that the total cost for the invasion and occupation of Iraq will be $2.6 trillion.
A wage slave can't quit an oppressive job to find a less slave-like job, because in our present society, almost all jobs involve wage-slavery. So the options are obey and stay, die of starvation, or become a vagrant, which is illegal. It should be noted that this description of the present economic situation is not something you hear on TV or radio or read in newspapers or magazines, not because it's incorrect or misleading, but because "it's just the way things are" or any such straightforward description is deemed "communistic" or "socialistic."
In the first one hundred and fifty years of our history as a nation, the vast majority of American people lived in a community-oriented culture, on farms or in small towns or cities working as artisans and laborers. Our national identity was associated with interdependence and cooperation--all for the common good. Women worked with men, families traded labor and animals. In this culture of mutual concern and mutual obligation, working class people took care of one another. They shared common values and interests, completely different from the values of a market-driven approach to life. According to this common welfare approach to life, merchants and financiers would be restricted to what the community decided about how resources are used. The working class had put its democratic, interdependent ideals into their state constitutions and in town and city charters when possible.
The "Free Market" Scam
Even from the beginning of our nation's history, the wealthy class--shopkeepers, lawyers, bankers, speculators, commercial farmers--had adopted a completely opposite way of life: every person for himself. The world view of the wealthy class saw the community as a system of exchange between producers and consumers, capitalists and workers. The holy of holies for the merchant class was the "free market"
ideology, according to which each man pursues only his own self-interest. According to this dogma, society is held together, not on the basis of common welfare, but by the "invisible hand of the market" implemented through impersonal contracts.
"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."
Adam Smith. (1776). Wealth of Nations
According to the view of the merchant class, the state is to be controlled by elites or "better people" who decide what is best for the "common people." Government's role is to protect the single human capability of ownership. All other capabilities--learning, pursuit of happiness, freedom, human concern--are to be subordinated to property. The state's only role is to assure that the impersonal market system runs smoothly. This requires that the government use violent force when it becomes necessary to protect personal property.
The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were selected by state legislatures--not by popular vote of the people. The capitalist class was frightened by how much power the working class had been able to muster in the separate colonies and they could see from the Shays rebellion that the people were quite capable of rebelling against the wealthy class when it seized their hard-earned lands, crops, and animals.
Delegates to the Constitutional Convention were instructed that their only job was to amend the Articles of Confederation and that any proposed changes were to be approved by all the states before they were adopted. A conspiratorial junta, led by Hamilton and Madison, had already decided that they would scrap the Articles of Confederation and write an entirely new constitution which would create a centralized government controlled by the wealthy class. The Convention met entirely in secret, and it would be fifty-three years before American citizens were allowed to see the record of what had transpired in this coup d'etat which enshrined mercantile capitalism as the imposed way of life for Americans. Of the sixty-two delegates appointed to the Convention, fifty-five showed up. At the Convention, no more than eleven states were ever represented at one time. Of the fifty-five members of the Convention; only thirty-nine signed the final draft.
The illegal Constitution these conspirators contrived:
Knowing that the popular majority in all the states would oppose this oligarchic document, the framers of the Constitution inserted the provision that it would go into effect when ratified by only nine states. The failure of the Constitution to disallow the seizure of power was first proven when the Federalist Party and John Adams, as the second U.S. president, took over all branches of the government and instituted a reign of terror which was barely overthrown by Thomas Jefferson and his party in 1800.
- Was in effect an economic document, enshrining property as the primary value
- Was anti-majoritarian, making sure that the "common people" could no longer gain political power over the minority capitalist class
- Contained no checks against plutocratic (corporate) power
- Created the private control of government by the capitalist class, including the creation of domestic and foreign policy
- Disallowed city or state assemblies to make decisions which the federal government was to make
- Assured that effective political power was unavailable at the local level
At present we are suffering from the seizure of all branches of American government by a capitalist cabal and its Obama puppet regime. Bush II was put into power with the connivance of the criminal acts of his brother Jeb in Florida and the coup d'etat perpetrated by the reactionary Supreme Court appointing Bush president in 2000. Under the cabal puppets such as Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, America has become an imperialistic, militaristic banana republic.
The ravages of wage slavery are becoming clear for all Americans to see and feel. We either overthrow this new slavery or we will continue as chattel slaves to a new capitalist class of criminal thugs. To help us re-establish our Constitutional freedoms, we must establish equitable economic principles. We can begin by working for the realization of the Second Bill of Rights as presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his State of the Union Address in January, 1944.
During his State of the Union Address, Roosevelt declared that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement, a second bill of rights. Roosevelt did not argue for any change to the United States Constitution; he believed that the second bill of rights should be implemented politically, not by federal judges. Roosevelt's stated justification was that the "political rights" granted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had "proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness." Roosevelt's remedy was to create an "economic bill of rights" which would guarantee:
- "The right to a useful and remunerative job"
- "The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation"
- "The right of every family to a decent home"
- "The right to adequate medical care and opportunity to enjoy and achieve good health"
- "The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment"
- "The right to a good education"
Roosevelt stated that having these rights would guarantee American security, and that America's place in the world depended upon how far these and similar rights were carried into practice.
The Public Service Economy
Historically, federal, state, and local governments have managed certain businesses and industries which the American public thought best kept in public hands: prisons, schools, forests, parks, military bases, retirement funds, utilities, etc. And American citizens have also wanted their government to regulate certain businesses and industries which the citizens felt could only be scrutinized by public agencies, not privately-owned enterprises.
Beginning in the 1960s the demonic cabal's front organizations--Cato, Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Committee on the Present Danger, Free Congress Foundation, Council for Inter-American Security, Council for National Policy, etc.--began to raise a loud outcry that governmental regulatory agencies had been "captured" by the industries under regulation. Of course, the allegations were largely true--their political puppets had made sure that the public regulatory agencies such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), were either crippled or co-opted.
But many Americans, made indifferent and ignorant by the demonic cabal's subversion of American education beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century, can't see that the groups claiming to be watching out for citizens' interests are actually fronts for the American ruler group. The mind-robots eat up the catch slogans of: "get the government off the backs of the people" and "consumer choice." So they stand still when the elite's political puppets put through legislation which creates deregulation and privatization of public institutions.
The cabal's political puppets broke up some of their large competitors, such as AT&T, IBM, savings and loan institutions, and airlines, so the cartel could increase its holdings in the telecommunication, computer, banking, and air travel industries. Then, the cabal began its deregulatory experiments with the opening of access to networks. Under this approach, the physical infrastructures of the networks (such as airports, cables, pipes) remained regulated natural monopolies, but access to these networks was opened so that the remaining elements could be submitted to competition: airline traffic, telecommunication services, gas and electricity production, etc.
Americans know that historically, the U.S. was created on the principle that citizens own public land, highways, schools, ports, airports, parks, the airwaves, government buildings and other assets. Under the present criminal regime, public assets such as energy production plants, water resources, prisons, and many others, have been seized by members of the cabal under the guise of "privatization." Americans must create a government that will serve as the protector of the citizenry, and champion their cause when confronted with the predatory greed of profit-motivated corporations and individuals. Americans don't see anyone in the federal or state government doing anything but assuring that the big corporations' profits skyrocket even more. So Americans are beginning to inform themselves--primarily through the Internet.
We must realize that our economic situation at present--a very few obscenely rich people owning companies and corporations and having illegally seized state and federal political power--is one which we can and must change. Our current economic and political circumstances are not written in stone; humans have lived under very different political and economic conditions throughout our history. We must begin to overthrow this present state of affairs where all workers suffer under capitalist wage-slavery. The political system and the economic situation should be directed toward the welfare of all Americans, not just a few. We can bring about these changes; it is not impossible.
We must first make all Americans aware of our present plight and then begin in all possible ways to overthrow the new slavery, producing material changes leading to political freedom and economic equality of opportunity through building cooperative commonwealth communities.
1 Personal property in the form of slaves or bondsmen
2 Kevin Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, 1999
3 Marx and Engels, The German Ideology
References and Updates:
- 9/17/2014: Modern-day slavery in Malaysia
- 1/24/2012: Capitalism Is Slavery
- 9/6/2011: More Slaves Than Ever In History
- 7/9/2011: Child Brides As Slaves
- 6/25/2011: Chinese worker unrest challenges capitalism
- 11/22/09: Forced Labor and Rape
- 6/4/08: Worldwide Slavery
- 5/14/07: Brazil: Bush-Lula biofuel plans based on conditions worse than slavery
- 5/13/07: Guest Worker Slavery
- 3/14/07: Slave labor conditions under US guestworker program
- 3/13/07: John Miller, "Slaves Among Us"
- 10/6/06: Zambian slavery under Chinese tyranny
- Kevin Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, 1999
- Global Issues
- Holding Corporations Accountable
- Institute for Economic Democracy
- IBM Emancipates 8,000 Wage Slaves
- Surplus Value
- Ralph Nader and the Public Citizen Newsletter